I have been pondering this subject for a while because Professor Presas’ family style included the crossada and palis palis version of espada y daga as can be seen by his demonstrations in the 1980s instructional video series.  Along with his knowledge of his family style, Professor also studied Balintawak arnis under Rudolfo Mongcol, Timoteo Maranga and eventually, the founder of Balintawak, GM Anciong Bacon.

For those not familiar with the term “espada y daga” here is a Wiki article that gives a brief summary:


What is interesting is that before founding Balintawak, Bacon was part of the famed Labongon Fencing Club and later, the Doce Pares Club. Apparently, espada y daga was practiced quite a bit in these two clubs. According to legend, Bacon’s training dagger was taken away from him due to him being too rough with it. He was left with a single cane and empty hand. From this point on, he developed the art of Balintawak. Thus, two of the major influences on Modern Arnis have roots in espada y daga.

The benefits of espada y daga training are obvious. Training in espada y daga trains the use of both hands, coordination of two weapons of striking and checking patterns. It also trains the concepts of angling, distancing, and footwork. All of these concepts carry over very well into Modern Arnis tapi tapi and leads to increased competence. While it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to use espada y daga in self defence here in North America, there is much value due to the attributes that this discipline instills.

One of the major areas of training that Master Chuck Gauss has focused on is two canes vs. one cane training drills as it instills many of the same attributes that espada y daga trains.

Lately, he has focused on introducing Professor’s traditional styles into the two vs. one tapi tapi. As Modern Arnis has not only right handed tapi tapi but left hand as well, the two vs. one training is an incredible training tool. Many of the techniques and movements are very similar to espada y daga.


One thought on “Espada y Daga

  • December 22, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Hello Brian,

    I like your posting and comments about Professor’s 1986 video presentation of espada y daga.
    It would seem to me that he was presenting his own method of espada y daga because it is my understanding from reading the book “Cebuano Eskrima” that the Balintawak system of Bacon was based on a single stick approach.
    (Cebuano Eskrima: Beyond the Myth.
    Ned R. Nepangue, M.D. and Celestino C. Macachor, page 167.)

    It also seem that the Balintawak style of GGM Anciong Bacon was derived from his uncle and cousins
    the Saavedra’s, Lorenzo “Tatang Insong”, Teodoro “Doring” and Fredrico “Pedring”. (page 163)

    The Labangon Fencing Club was founded in 1920 by Lorenzo Saavedra, which later gave birth to other styles, Doce Pares, Lapunti and Balintawak. That club disbanded in 1930 and was reformulated in 1932 as the Doce Pares Club, with Lorenzo as the leader and Doring as one of his assistant instructors. Bacon, who was born in 1912 was too yong to be a member of the LFC, but was old enough to join the new DPC. He was a student of his cousin, Doring, along with Vincente Atillo, Yoling Canate, Filemon “Momoy’ Cante, and Delphin Lopez.

    Bacon left the DPC in 1952 and he along with some 25 or so others formed the Balintawak Self Defense Club, which was named after the street where the members met for training.

    The implication is fairly clear that Bacon was actually teaching the Saavedra System of Eskrima, because in the lineage charts at the back of the book, Bacon is listed under merely 1 instructor,
    Lorenzo Saavedra (page 269), but the text lists him as a student of Doring Saavedra (page 164) while a member of the DPC prior to WWII.

    It would seem that the art of Balintawak could have been called ‘Saavedra Eskrima’ just as easily and correctly as Balintawak. We will never know why the art was named after a street where the club house was located because all of the people who could answer that question have passed on.

    I highly recommend that people in the FMA, particularly those who practice an art with it’s origin in Cebu read “Cebu Eskrima”.

    Respectfully your,

    Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
    Independent Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis


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